OGDEN -- The morning started out cold, but as J.D. VanLingeveld got moving, he quickly warmed up.
The Boy Scout from Troop 99 said he was happy to wake up early Saturday morning if it would help feed the hungry.
"There are a lot of people who are hungry," he said. "We collected a lot of food. Some of the sacks were so heavy with food that they started ripping open. It was great."
Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts collected food from every neighborhood across the state and nation Saturday.
This year marks the 25th annual Scouting for Food, a program that helps stock the shelves of Catholic Community Services' Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank in Ogden, the Utah Food Bank and emergency food pantries statewide.
"We collected food from two streets," said Cade Draper, of Troop 99, who was helping to unload his donations at Catholic Community Services. "I think this is good because it helps people who can't afford to eat."
The need for food assistance throughout the state has risen dramatically in the past year, said Jim Pugh, executive director of Utah Food Bank, with thousands of Utahns forced to choose between the very basics, including rent and food.
Marcie Valdez, director of Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah, said hundreds of new families have been coming to the food bank recently.
Without the support of the community and partner agencies, she said, the need would not be met.
"We have seen a 30 percent increase in need every year for the last three years at the food pantry," she said. "We provide food to an average of 1,500 households every month."
That adds up to about 200,000 pounds of food each month, Valdez said.
Last year, the Scouting for Food drive generated approximately 800,000 pounds of food for Utah's emergency food network. Approximately 66,000 pounds came directly to Catholic Community Services.
Ethan Strain, of Troop 420, said it was worth it to him to get up early and start collecting food.
"We got a lot," he said. "I just want to be able to help others in need of food. We've filled a cart already."
Cash donations are always needed, Valdez said, and can be sent to CCS at P.O. Box 869, Ogden, UT 84402. CCS is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.
"We are so grateful for the support of the community," Valdez said.
"We could not possibly do what we do without the support of our volunteers and donors. The Boy Scout food drive is a great example of how, when everyone does a little, we can do a lot to help our neighbors in need. It's amazing to see the food that comes in on this day."
A total of 67,127 pounds was delivered Saturday to CCS.